Positive media coverage is one of the best ways to promote the non-stop fun, amazing opportunities and tangible benefits today’s girls experience in Girl Scouting. When we share our Girl Scout news and activities it:
• Increases our visibility in the community
• Promotes our brand and signals value for the
Girl Scout Program
• Boosts our membership and
• Increases financial support
What’s the challenge? At Girl Scouts of Maine, we do our best to report the interesting stories, latest news and important information relating to Girl Scouting statewide. But, with over 16,000 girl and adult members, it would take considerable resources in staff time, energy and funding to issue media releases on everyone’s activities!
That’s where YOU come in! As a Girl Scout PR Volunteer, you can promote your Girl Scout troop’s news and activities in local media. The Girl Scouts of Maine Press Release Toolkit is designed to support you in your efforts and provides useful information, press release templates, and media contacts for your area.
As you use the toolkit resources, if you have questions or need help, please contact Cortney Smart, Marketing Manager, at email@example.com or (888) 922-4763.
Press Release Toolkit
The most important question to ask before you write a release is:
IS IT NEWS?
While many of your Girl Scout activities are interesting, not all are going to be newsworthy. Reporters and editors are inundated with press releases and they’re going to review your submission for its news value to determine whether or not it gets into their publication.
10 Tips for Writing Your Release
1 USE one of the press release templates provided in this toolkit. Why? Because we want all of our releases to be identifiable and have a consistent look statewide. It’s best to cut and paste the template into the body of the email rather than send it as an attachment.
2 Begin by Plugging in the FOR RELEASE date and your CONTACT information in the spaces provided.
3 Write a catchy title – also known as the “headline.” The headline is what attracts attention and makes people want to keep reading. It should be one line in length and capitalized.
4 Your lead paragraph should be no longer than three lines in length and should provide the who, what, when, where and why or your story. If it doesn’t, write it again! Think of the lead as a way to give quick facts and subsequent paragraphs as a way to fill in the details.
5 Use a quote from your spokesperson in your second or third paragraph. Quotes should be to the point and used to add support to your story. Be sure to include quotation marks and list the person’s name, title and organization. For example: “All the girls in my troop were looking forward to visiting the Mouse Trap Museum,” said Suzie Q, Leader of Troop 000. “The girls used the proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Activity to pay for the trip and everyone had a great time.”
6 Write in the third person and use declarative sentences. For example, instead of writing - My Girl Scout Troop went to the Mouse Trap Museum last Saturday, you would write, Girl Scouts of Maine Troop 000 toured the Mouse Trap Museum on Saturday, October 23.
7 Try to limit your release to around 300 words or less and proof it several times before sending it out! Check your facts, spelling and punctuation.
8 At the end of your release write “end”, or use the symbol “###” centered below the text.
9 PHOTOS - Include an action shot to go with your release whenever possible. (Check out the tips for taking good pictures below.) When writing the photo caption, describe what is happening and identify people in the photo from left to right.
SAFETY FIRST - SO CHECK WITH PARENTS and if all agree, you may list girls by their full names: Jane Doe, Suzie Q, and Annie Smith. However, for safety reasons, you might consider writing something like: Girl Scouts Jane, Suzie, and Annie, members of Girl Scout Troop 000, or Girl Scouts from Troop 000, etc…
10 MAKE SURE you have a signed Photo Release Form from every Girl Scout’s parent or guardian before distributing a picture to the media that features their child. There is a “photo release” clause included on the Girl Scouts of the USA registration form and if the parents agree that that is sufficient, fine. However, you may also download a Photo Release Form from the Forms section on the GSME Website.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Including a picture with your release increases the chances that your news will get printed!
Here are some helpful tips:
Local Newspaper Contacts
The daily and weekly publications listed here have indicated their preference for receiving press releases and photos via email. The list covers the major publications in Maine however, if you know of others in your area, feel free to provide them with your Girl Scout news. Don’t forget to keep GSME in the loop – we want to know about the great things your girls are doing! Please CC your release to Cortney Smart, Marketing Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAJOR NEWSPAPERS & COVERAGE AREAS
Bangor Daily News / Maine north and east between Rockland, Skowhegan and Jackman
Journal Tribune / York County
Portland Press Herald & Maine Sunday Telegram / Rockland to Kittery
Sun Journal / Androscoggin County, Central Maine, Franklin & Oxford Counties
Bangor Daily News – email@example.com
The Weekly – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bar Harbor – Mt. Desert Island
Bar Harbor Times – email@example.com
Mount Desert Islander – firstname.lastname@example.org
Coastal Journal – email@example.com
Times Record – firstname.lastname@example.org
Republican Journal – email@example.com
Bethel Citizen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Boothbay Register – email@example.com
Times Record – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridgton News – email@example.com
Weekly Packet – firstname.lastname@example.org
Camden - Midcoast Beacon – email@example.com
Castine Patriot – firstname.lastname@example.org
Piscataquis Observer – email@example.com
Moosehead Messenger – firstname.lastname@example.org
Livermore Falls Advertiser – LFAnews@myfairpoint.net
Rolling Thunder Express – email@example.com
Star Herald – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Original Irregular – email@example.com
Rumford Falls Times – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanford News – email@example.com
Register/Gazette Mainely Market – firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly Observer – email@example.com
The Current – – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Forecaster - email@example.com
The Scarborough Leader – firstname.lastname@example.org
Morning Sentinel – email@example.com
American Journal – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wiscasset Newspaper – email@example.com